Sunday, 5 May 2013

KRE-O Star Trek LightTech Review

Have you seen the new Hasbro KRE-O Star Trek construction sets that tie in to the Into the Darkness movie? They have Lighttech™ light up features in most of the construction sets (though not the mini ships or blind bags.)

My kids are too young to watch the new Star Trek movie and much too young to have seen the original series, but their parents are big Star Trek fans. I'm not quite sure whether I bought the KRE-O Star Trek sets for us or them!  We're having fun playing with them together and telling them about the characters.

My boys are crazy about construction toys and are always building something. They also like things that light up. Until now the options for light-up construction blocks have been limited. We have light bricks from a couple of larger LEGO® sets which are very popular with the boys but we only have a couple of them so they could only be used for occasional features. They don't tend to appear in LEGO sets very often and are expensive to buy individually. We've looked at a few alternatives but not found anything particularly good.

When I saw that KRE-O were bringing out the light brick technology I was intrigued and pre-ordered a couple of the Star Trek sets that use it. We've had KRE-O Transformers constructions sets before and the quality is pretty good compared to some of the other LEGO-compatible sets we've had.

We chose Spock's Volcano Mission and Transporter Trouble. Each set includes 2 KREON mini figures. Spock's Volcano Mission has 141 pieces while Transporter Trouble has 65 pieces. Both sets include a light up brick - but they are different shapes and have different trigger mechanisms which was a nice surprise.

In the Space Dive set it's actually the KREON figure that lights up so a lot of thought and design has gone into the Lighttech feature - they have just put the same light brick in each set.

The Lighttech bricks in these smaller sets use two 1.5v LR41 batteries to power a small LED. The batteries are included in these sets and are already in place, you just remove a small plastic tab. You can replace the batteries when they run out, you'll need a small Phillips (cross) head screwdriver.

Spock's Volcano Mission has a smaller 2x3 clear light brick which is part of the spacecraft. It can light up the inside of the spacecraft or can move position to provide light for Spock as he heads down to the volcano. This is a neat feature and really makes the most of a single light brick.

The light comes on while the red button is depressed and this happens automatically when you fully open the hatch for Spock to land on the volcano. 

Transporter Trouble has a large custom piece with a blue LED in. It also has a slider mechanism to control the transporter - this also controls the light effect which flashes blue as the transporter spins round to transport Scotty.

This works well but it's absolutely crying out for a sound effect to go with it.

This piece will be interesting for custom projects once the Star Trek sets have been played with for a while. 

The lighting effects in both sets are great fun, especially in the dark. They're just small LEDs so don't expect too much, but we liked the way they add interesting features to the sets and to have them included in smaller sets that also include two figures is good value.

The kids love the KREONs in these sets and want to learn more about Star Trek. They won't be watching Into the Darkness until they're a bit older, but fortunately Hasbro are working with Bad Robot to produce a stop motion short featuring KREONs. The trailer has been out for a while and the short is expected to have it's own story line and be suitable for kids so we'll be looking out for that.

Buy: Star Trek KRE-O

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